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In 2024, the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney and the Embassy of Italy in Wellington will collaborate for the fourth consecutive year with Cinema Italiano Festival in New Zealand, the New Zealand institution that organizes a film festival focused on contemporary Italian films.


Cinema Italiano Festival, an initiative conceived and created by Paolo Rotondo and Renee Mark, passionate cinephiles, has reached its eighth edition. What at the beginning was a limited series with screenings concentrated in a single city, has become in a few years a festival that covers the entire national territory. From Auckland to Wellington, from Christchurch to Whatakane, from Tauranga to Takapuna and then Nelson, Napier, Palmerston, Dunedin, Blenheim, lovers of Italian cinema in Aotearoa will benefit from a current vision of Italian society.

Furthermore, unlike many of the film festivals organized globally, which generally last for a few days, the peculiar feature of this festival is that the screenings take place over a period of seven months, in 20 different cinemas in rotation. This makes “Cinema Italiano Festival” a product accessible to a large number of spectators.

The 2024 program sees over 1000 screenings over the 7-month duration of the festival in a schedule that also includes two productions supported by the Institute: a classic and a documentary recently released in cinemas. The first one is the timeless masterpiece The White Sheik by Federico Fellini (1952) with Giulietta Masina and Alberto Sordi. The second film is the art documentary Giotto and the Dream of the Renaissance (2023) by Francesco Invernizzi.



The White Sheik: Two newlyweds, Ivan and Wanda, come to Rome from Altovilla Marittima to spend their honeymoon. Above all, he hopes to make a good impression on his uncle who lives in the city, thanks to whose influence he hopes to make a career; for this purpose he organized a series of visits, including a papal audience, together with his uncle’s family. Wanda on the other hand, unbeknownst to her husband, hopes that in Rome she will finally be able to realize her dream: meeting the hero of her favorite photo novel, the “white sheik”.




Giotto and the dream of the Renaissance: It is a dense page of history that is meticulously narrated in the film. The figure of the painter Giotto is a pretext for the spectator to discover, in an in-depth, passionate and analytical way, a Middle Ages that is not at all dark, but very rich and varied, contextualized in a special Padua where the families who rose to power juggled wars and culture.



 Paolo Rotondo is a New Zealand film and theater director, writer and actor. Born in Naples, Italy to a Neapolitan father and a New Zealand mother of Irish descent, he was raised in Italy and moved to New Zealand at the age of eleven. Rotondo is best known for his character Andrew Solomon on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. In 2016, he released his debut film Orphans & Kingdoms to critical acclaim. He was featured in the New Zealand film Stickmen. As a writer Rotondo has written for cinema and theatre.Renee Mark is Māori, from Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa in Reporoa, New Zealand. Born to a Maori mother and an Irish father, she grew up in Hawke’s Bay before attending Victoria University of Wellington obtaining a law degree and a double major in Maori and Psychology. In 2003 she was accepted into the Random House Associate Program in New York, in 2007 she was managing director of Te Paepae Ataata – the Māori Film Commission and in 2013 she was one of 12 Aucklanders to receive a position in the prestigious Art Venture – a year-long program of creative enterprise. In 2016 she started the Italian Cinema Festival with her husband Paolo Rotondo.




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